Thematic Session 1 - Biodiversity Research

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Thematic Session 1

Biodiversity Research

Tuesday 9 February 2021 | 10:00-12:00 hrs


LINK TO ZOOM MEETING: Will Follow soon.


10:00 – 10:05 Introduction by the session chairs - Prof. Hans ter Steege (Group Leader Tropical Botany @ Naturalis Biodiversity Center) & Dr Yann Hautier (Assistant professor in Ecology and Biodiversity @ Utrecht University)
10:05 – 10:20 KEYNOTE LECTURE | The importance of soil biodiversity in global ecosystem restoration
Tom Crowther @ Global Ecosystem Ecology, ETH Zurich

I will talk about the uncertainties in our understanding of global restoration. In particular, a key uncertainty is the rate of soil carbon accumulation over time following land abandonment or natural regeneration. We explore how this carbon accumulation potential varies across the globe, and how this process is governed by a complex soil microbial community. Ultimately, a better understanding of global microbial biogeography can help us to improve confidence in our understanding of soil carbon turnover across the globe, which can improve efforts to understand future changes, and manage ecosystems effectively in the face of ongoing climate change.
10:20 – 10:30 Species-area based estimates of extinction risk for microbial taxa in Europe
Stavros Veresoglou @ Freie Universität Berlin

Microbial interactions occur at a microscale but are pertinent for the functioning of the biosphere. Gauging the effect of processes which occur at a spatial scale of a very different magnitude is no easy task but can be facilitated through a further exploration of ecological theory. Here I adapt a tool from core ecological theory, species-area relationships to showcase the feasibility of this doctrine. I use data from >3000 MiSeq libraries that my colleagues and I collected as part of a large biodiversity network to parametrize the species-area models and generate richness estimates for bacteria, fungi and archaea over Europe. I further explore extinction risk over a range of global change scenarios by the year 2050.
10:30 – 10:40 Richness center for sclerophyllous oaks in Hengduan Mountains of China
Ziyan Liao @ Swiss Federal Institute for Forest Snow and Landscape Research WSL

An ensemble modelling approach of six ecological niche models was performed to predict the distributions of seven sympatric sclerophyllous oak species in the Hengduan Mountains of Southwest China. Spatial eigenvector filters revealed missing factors in addition to commonly used environmental variables, thus effectively improved predictive accuracy for the montane oak species. This study identified a richness centre of sclerophyllous oaks, which provides essential insights for the rational conservation and management of sclerophyllous oak species, suggesting that spatial constraints might reflect limited ability of migration under future climate change.
10:40 – 10:50 Tree diversity promotes fungal diversity
Shanshan Yang @ Forest Ecology and Forest Management, Wageningen University

Deadwood plays an important role in carbon storage and forest biodiversity. Here I use a common garden experiment with 10 deadwood tree species to evaluate: whether and how tree species give rise to fungal communities? We found fungal diversity is strongly determined by the characteristics of host trees and decay time. Tree species with acquisitive traits have a high fungal diversity. Fungal communities diverge in early decay time, but converge later in succession because the wood substrate becomes more similar during succession. In summary, maintaining a high diversity of deadwood in forest can facilitate a high forest fungal diversity.
10:50 – 11:10 Joint coffee / tea break and time to socialise within your breakout room
11:10 – 11:20 Forest ages in western Amazonia
Britte Heijink @ Ecosystem & Landscape Dynamics, University of Amsterdam

Repeated burns in Amazonian forests can lead to complete species turnover as these forests do not burn naturally. Here we investigate the ecological legacies in Amazonian forests that may result from past human fire activities. We investigated past fire ages for 7 forest plots in western Amazonia. Radiocarbon dating of charcoal fragments from soil cores was used to establish a fire history for each plot. The age-since-last-fire of the plots ranged from 0 (present) to 1600 calibrated years before present. Our results can be used to assess forest recovery time and investigate ecological legacies of past humans on Amazonian forests.
11:20 – 11:30 Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in food forests
Isabelle van der Zanden @ Terrestrial Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology

Temperate food forests have gained attention over the last decade because of their potential to contribute to restoration of biodiversity and carbon storage. So far scientific research has been limited to case studies and identifying socio-economic values. This study aims to quantify how transforming grasslands or arable fields into food forests affects important belowground ecosystem properties like decomposition, carbon cycling and carbon storage and aims to unravel the role of the soil food web within these processes. Quantification of these processes can help the development of food forests as a serious agricultural practice.
11:30 – 11:40 How can we adequately express aquatic species diversity?
Jip de Vries @ Freshwater and Marine Ecology, University of Amsterdam

Changes in communities can be tracked using metrics such as species richness, Shannon’s diversity and number of rare or indicator species. However, often single metrics are arbitrarily chosen with limited consideration of their appropriateness and context. Here, a framework for context specific species diversity is offered. For this purpose, a classification of community types based on species composition was made for Dutch surface waters. The resulting clusters were characterized using abiotic conditions and indicator species. Using these clusters, it was shown that diversity metrics are complementary and context specific, allowing to refine ecological water quality assessment.
11:40 – 11:55 General discussion and wrap up of the session